Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Defying the norms of beauty

I was introducing our film, "These Are My Hands" at the LGBT Flare ilm Festival at the BFI the other night.

I said, or I meant to say, that I originally wrote the poem to perform at a cabaret.The cabaret's theme was ageing, and I wanted to look at my body, and all the memories it contains.

For many years I hated my body because it did not correspond to a profound powerful sense I had of who I was.

And then when I began to live as a woman I started to feel comfortable in my skin for the very first time.

But lately, as I have become to age, I have found myself a little bit at a distance from it again because it causes me such physical pain.

But when I wrote my poem I wanted to look at it with compassion. And that's where the poem came from.

A friend who is a film-maker, Evi Tsilagaridou, happened to watch the performance, and she decided it would make a short film.

So we began by recording the soundtrack, and that was the basis of the film.

She wanted to film me naked and I agreed because it fitted the subject matter of the poem. But also because it seems to me important that non-standard bodies get to be celebrated and to be seen.

Queer bodies, especially. My body is part male and part female; my body is ageing, overweight, and covered in scars.

In the poem i say these are like scars from the wounds I have suffered in life's battle. Which means they should be celebrated.

And although bodies like mine are often hidden away because they are thought to be shameful, and I, for sure, have suffered profoundly from bodily shame, it seems to me that a non-standard body like mine is a source of pride.

And it is an act of defiance to show it to an oppressive world.

And so I dedicate it to every one who has a non-standard body in the hope that it will help all of us recover from our shame.

And that means I dedicate it to all of us....
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